Silver vs Benbow Ferries Ltd

Exciting scenes today at the conclusion of the Silver vs Benbow Ferries Ltd case, following a hotly anticipated ruling by the tribunal. Mr Silver, formerly a chef aboard a passenger ferry on the English Channel crossing, had been dismissed by his employer, Benbow Ferries, for being drunk on duty. This, according to Benbow Ferries, amounted to gross misconduct. Mr Silver disagreed and challenged the decision, stating that it was normal custom and practice for sea cooks to be liberally soused in rum.

At the ensuing employment tribunal, Mr Silver argued that he had been a victim of workplace bullying ever since he had inaugurated the monthly 'bring your parrot to work day' - a practice that was popular with the crew, but which he claimed the company frowned upon.

Benbow Ferries denied this allegation. They were fully supportive of the 'parrot days', they said, because of the positive effect it had had on staff morale. They admitted that there had been one or two complaints from passengers, particularly in relation to the raucous squawking in the duty free shop and the quantity of bird droppings that found their way into the salad bar in the premier restaurant on Deck B. However, these were minor irritations and could be easily remedied with the use of Clingfilm, rubber bands and nets.

Ultimately, however, the tribunal chose not to accept Benbow Ferries' interpretation of events. Upon reaching a decision they adjudged that, although being drunk on duty was not normally acceptable in most working environments, according to Pirates of the Caribbean it appeared to be a long-standing nautical tradition. For this reason it could not be interpreted as gross misconduct. However they did take note of a number of comments made about Mr Silver's disabilities - particularly remarks about his eye patch and the possibility of his wooden leg making him a fire risk - and concluded that the real reasons for Mr Silver's dismissal were discriminatory.

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